Mr. John Omara

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Research Abstract : 
"Effect of Land Use and Land Use Change on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Tropical Swamp Forests: A Proxy Monitoring Approach".

Brief information on topic and research question: Peat swamp forests are carbon rich ecosystems but whose existence in Uganda have not been clearly documented. The available reports on the existence of swamp forest (Wetlands department, 2001) stopped short of distinguishing peat swamp forests from non-peat swamp forests, leave alone establishing the soil carbon stocks in these swamp forest. Furthermore, emissions from oxidation of drained peat swamp forests can be huge and the oxidation continues until the peat is depleted or the drainage is reversed. It is estimated that degradation of peatlands contribute 6% of the global anthropogenic carbon dioxide emission, the leading cause of climate change (GOFC-GOLD, 2014; IPCC, 2014). There are also many reports on the degradation of Uganda’s swamp forests but no study has been conducted to estimate the resulting GHG emissions. Therefore, the contribution of anthropogenic GHGs from degraded peat swamp forests from Uganda is not known. Besides, there are no country specific emission factors for proxies used to cheaply monitor GHG emissions from drained peatlands. The lack of information on the existence of peat swamp forests, their carbon stocks, degradation status and related GHG emission and reliable local monitoring means indicates inaccuracy in the estimates of global carbon budget from peatlands. Besides, the lack of these information will lead to their exclusion in the on going REDD+ project, which would incentivize local conservation efforts. The degradation of these peat swamp forests may continue unabated, whereas the degraded ones will not be restored leading to release of huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, which would otherwise be kept in the soil. This goes against the goal of global initiatives to fight climate change. 

Research Questions

1.Which of the swamp forests in Uganda have soil with organic matter content more than 20% and thickness of more than 40 cm?

2.What are the soil carbon content in the selected swamp forests of Uganda?

3.What are the changes in soil carbon content of the selected swamp forests following conversion.


Progress as of September 8, 2016

Proposal under development. Reconnaissance surveys were done and the results have greatly helped in the development of the proposal. The proposal has been presented to the doctoral committee, which made suggestions that are currently being addressed. The doctoral committee has however given a green light for commencement of data collection for objective one. Another doctoral committee meeting will be organised before the proposal can be finalised for submission to gain full registration. Meanwhile the procurement process for the materials and equipments for the study is on-going.


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John Omara
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John Omara

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